I have often planned on blogging over the last three months, but it just hasn't happened. But I did finish my year well, took 7 of my kids backpacking, and am now working at an adventure camp and lifeguarding. So much work leaves me little time to blog even though there is so much to say. But tonight I am finally sitting down and writing due to an interesting conversation I had today.
Shortly after I started my shift lifeguarding this evening a kid came in and sat next to the lifeguard station. He knew the lifeguard leaving so I introduced myself. Turns out he is going into 10th grade and is friends with kids I know. We ended up talking for my entire shift. First about him...he is an amateur boxer and hopes to be pro. Then about random things like flying. Then he asked my what got me into teaching. He said he always likes to ask teachers that because it is such a hard job. This launched into a huge conversation about education. We both agreed that teachers who only give boring lectures are awful. He told me what he likes and dislikes about school. I talked about Great Falls, etc. Then he asked me if I saw myself teaching for the rest of my life. I said no and talked about maybe a PhD and starting my school. He was curious about the school, so I told him all about my idea for the Genesis school. He thought it was amazing and told me I shouldn't wait but do it as soon as possible. It was really fun to get a students' feedback on the idea and hear that another person thinks it could be successful. He ended up helping me put chlorine in the pool, put chairs away, and fill the mop bucket. He said three things that were really uplifting. "Maybe you were just born to do something different and be different," "Don't wait, start that school as soon as possible," and as he left, "You really should pursue your ideas of doing things differently." It was so encouraging and made me smile. Maybe the rest of the world is crazy and the rest of us make real sense. Either way I still feel hope.
Another tidbit...my backpacking trip with my CSL students was great. It was really challenging sometimes but these two quotes made it worth it to me.
A: "So is this trip kind of like a graduation present for us?"
Me: "Yeah, that was kind of what I was thinking but I'm not sure that everyone sees it that way. Are you having fun?"
A: "Yeah, it's really cool."
This was so neat and showed me that she was reflecting on why on earth I wanted to spend three days with them in the middle of nowhere. I was encouraged to see someone thinking on that level.
"So, Ms. Greene, how do you think this weekend went?" I could tell from this that she wanted to know if they were indeed hopeless and if they had run me down and I regretted it. I said I thought it was great and I wanted them to be satisfied and celebrate their accomplishments more instead of being so negative. They want to believe that everyone has given up on them because being loved means opening up and connecting with someone. I was glad they gave me a chance to respond clearly to this idea and reinforce how much I care about them.
I miss my students so much and think about them often. One member of my CSL group sometimes gave me trouble in my classroom and yet got straight A's (despite many things stacked against her). We had fun together but I had no idea what this meant to her until the last day when she stood in front of me staring up at me tears running down her face because she did not want to say goodbye. She must have hugged me 10 times before she left. She is amazing and I hope she continues to be who she can be not what her circumstances want to say she is. One of the 7th grade teachers commented to me how amazing this was because she was resistant to school in 7th grade but then didn't want to leave at the end of 8th grade. I will never forget my first students.